Photo by Punkylu78
Last week, I talked to the VP of Ab Coaster (a new workout machine specifically for toning abs), Sean Gagnon about losing the post pregnancy pounds. He came up with a list of exercises to help tone ab muscles after giving birth. Gagnon has over 15 years experience in the health industry and works with many pre and post pregnancy clients. This week, I talked to him about a post pregnancy diet to help with the toning exercises.
First of all, when is it safe to start exercising again after birth?
Your physician or health care provider can best answer this question because they know your health history. However, baring any complications during pregnancy it is generally safe to begin a moderate exercise routine within days of giving birth. In fact the ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) says you can begin exercise “as soon as you feel up to it."
What's a simple workout any mom can follow after giving birth? How many days a week?
Once you have received your doctors clearance to begin exercising, a simple plan will have you begin exercising three days per week. Cardiovascular exercise should be performed for 20-30 minutes at a moderate intensity. This could include walking, elliptical machines, swimming etc. Basically anything that will moderately increase your heart rate and keep it there for 20-30 minutes. If this is too much in the beginning, you can break the 20-30 minutes up into 10 minute segments to reach a total time of 20-30 minutes. As you get in better shape strive for continuous exercise and gradually increase the intensity.
Next perform some basic strength training exercises to tighten and tone the muscles. You can start with basic body weight exercises such as push ups, squats and lunges. Try for 10-15 repetitions for 2-3 sets. A routine might look like this: Start with 10 reps of body weight squats. Rest 30 seconds. Move to the ground and perform 10 push-ups (on your knees is fine to start with). Rest 30 seconds. Perform 10 alternating lunges. This sequence is one set. Rest for about a minute and repeat 2-3 times. Once you can complete this routine 3 days per week you can increase the intensity and complexity of your strength training with the help of a certified personal trainer.
Round out your routine with the Core 4 program described last week and some gentle stretching.
What kinds of foods should you be eating when trying to rebuild muscle tone?
It's always best to check with your physician, a nutritionist, or a registered dietitian for the eating plan that is best for you. Generally however, I would recommend a diet that is high in fiber, and rich with whole foods such as fruits and vegetables. The meal plan should also consist of moderate carbohydrates for energy, protein for muscle building and be low in fat. There are so many theories out there on nutrition, but ultimately we all have to find what works best for us as individuals.
What's a normal rate to start noticing a change for the better?
The human body is amazing and it will begin to recover from pregnancy within days. Noticeable change will begin to take place 4-6 weeks postpartum provided you are following a sensible eating and exercise plan.
Do your female clients who've recently given birth give you more attitude now that they've gone through something you haven't? How so?
Well I received “attitude” in general from my female clients so I don’t know if I can attribute it to the fact that they have given birth! I will say that as a father myself, who witnessed childbirth first hand, I know what you women are capable of. So trust me when I say that my asking you for a couple more reps during our session is nothing compared to childbirth. I’m certain it was no accident that women are the ones who give birth – most of us guys just couldn’t handle it!
What are your post pregnancy fitness questions for Sean? He'll answer them in next week's post!